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Balamor removed the small trinkets which pinned his map down and returned the large piece of parchment to his bag. The dwarf snatched the small lantern from his shelf and swung the wooden door open.

The rain outside wasn’t as dangerous as Awkid imagined. At this rate the bandages would suffice until they reached the road to Anstia.

“So this rain, what happens when it gets to your arm?” said Balamor as the two of them descended the spiral stairs of the tree home.

Awkid didn’t bother making eye contact when he spoke,

“You see that puddle there?" He pointed with his normal hand to the ground as they reached its muddy surface.

"That is what happens.”

A long pause ensued as they trekked through the forest. The rain pattered softly against the canopy above. Balamor held his hand out as a thick drop of water landed in the center of his palm. He tried to imagine what the Dwarf had gone through.

Howling past the thick trees, the wind was intense. The air was thick and cold, moistening their clothes, as well as the bandages covering Awkid’s arm.

The clay surface of his limb became aware of the rain. A slight ache ran through the Dwarf. He wondered how much of his real arm remained. How could he feel pain in this earthen curse of his? A question maybe Balamor would help answer in this journey.

The Sun of the early morning made no difference in the gray sky above them. The weather was depressing, and the passage of time went unnoticed, making their trip seem to go nowhere. It felt like hours went by before they reached a clearing in the forest. The thick grass they treaded was waterlogged from the night before, each step Awkid took was carefully placed. Even after all the years of traveling in the rain, his next trip never became easier than the last.

Looking up at the gray sky, the young Balamor searched for a break in the clouds, but it came to no avail. His hairy feet were soaked, and the cold wind made walking a chore. He watched Awkid in front of him. His strides were strong, yet they were taken with caution. Not once did he look back at his home.

Balamor couldn't help but think this journey was important to Awkid, even if it was unexpected. Whatever the strange woman did to his arm drove him to join Balamor. He knew Awkid now wanted to learn more about his past.

The End

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